Heights Platform How to Start an Online Coaching Business [The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide]

How to Start an Online Coaching Business [The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide]

14 minute read

Online coaching is a great way to build a thriving business for yourself, while helping others and providing value.

There are many different specializations and niches you can choose to focus on as a coach, such as online nutrition coaching, online business coaching, fitness coaching, life coaching, and even online vocal coaching (and many more!).

What you choose to focus on is up to you! In this article, we will show you how to build any coaching program business from the ground up, regardless of your niche of focus.

Coaching clients in an online space opens up a world of opportunities that are not available to coaches who only offer in-person sessions. You can work with clients from anywhere in the world and have more flexibility with your schedule.

The best part is that you can start right away since all you need is a computer with an internet connection!

However, starting an online coaching business is not easy, and it can be extremely confusing to do so without any guidance.

This is why in today's article, we will break down all the steps needed for you to start an online coaching business today.

What is Online Coaching?

So what exactly is an online coaching program, and how can you get started as a coach?

The term "online coaching" encompasses a wide range of niches and businesses, but they all have one thing in common: clients pay for consultation, support, and advice in an online setting.

As an online coach, you assist your clients in achieving specific results by offering your unique expertise and support.

Typically, online coaching occurs through personalized one-on-one or group virtual meetings and calls tailored to each client's circumstances.

lesson imagePhoto by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

Online coaching is just one of the many ways you can monetize your knowledge online. Other business ideas include online courses, memberships, masterminds, communities, and more.

Learn more about this: 6 Coaching Products and Services You Can Offer With Your Online Coaching Business

Compared to other eLearning businesses, online coaching programs provide a highly individualized approach, as coaches focus on one client at a time.

For this reason, online coaching can be one of the most profitable ways to monetize your knowledge and make money online.

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Benefits of Starting an Online Coaching Business

Becoming an online coach offers many advantages. Let's explore them below:

  1. Flexibility: As an online coach, you can start your business from anywhere in the world. All you need is a laptop and a reliable internet connection, along with your expertise. You can set your own working hours and establish a pace that suits you. Starting may not be easy, but an online coaching program offers great flexibility and work-life balance.
  2. High Earning Potential: Since you offer your unique expertise, you have the freedom to set the price for your coaching sessions. Experienced coaches can earn more than six figures a year with just a handful of clients.
  3. Low Initial Costs: Starting as an online coach doesn't require significant upfront investments. While building your business demands time and effort, the monetary costs are minimal. You only need to create a website and develop content around it, and you can optionally invest in advertising.
  4. High-Value Offerings: The benefits of online coaching go beyond financial gains. Providing guidance and helping people achieve their goals can bring tremendous value to both you and your clients. You'll find immense fulfillment in building a business around your passions.

Learn more about the pros and cons of starting your own online coaching business: Is Online Coaching The Right Choice? Pros and Cons of Selling Coaching Programs

Different Types of Online Coaching Business

Yes, there are different types of business models you can choose from when you start an online coaching business.

You are free to mix and match between these business models and adapt the structure that fits you best! Let's see the main ones below:

One-on-One Coaching Business

Different coaches have different strengths. Some are great at working with groups, while others prefer to focus on helping one client at a time.

The best thing about an one-on-one coaching program is that you can give your clients special attention in a private setting. This means they might feel more comfortable sharing their personal history, challenges, and fears with you.

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Many clients actually prefer this kind of coaching because you can really concentrate on their needs, and they get more privacy to share their issues and doubts with you.

You have more time to listen to them, offer solutions, and provide helpful strategies. When you focus on one client at a time, you can also address their setbacks, challenges, and celebrate their successes more quickly than in a group setting.

However, there are some downsides to one-on-one coaching.

It can be more time-consuming since you need to share your knowledge, offer solutions, and really listen to your client individually. Also, because it requires more of your time and personalized attention, you may need to charge higher rates compared to group coaching, making it harder to attract clients.

Additionally, this business model may take longer to grow and expand compared to group coaching, or other more "passive" business models such as selling online courses.

Is one on one coaching what you are after? Check out this article from our blog: What is One-on-One Coaching and How to Get Started

Group Coaching

If you enjoy bringing people together and helping them as a group, then group coaching might be perfect for you!

It can be just as effective, or even more so, than one-on-one coaching, especially when your clients face similar challenges.

A group coaching program allows for open and honest discussions among members. When one person shares their struggles, it encourages others to do the same. This creates a strong bond and connection among the members and with you as the coach.

lesson imagePhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Another advantage of group coaching is that you can help multiple clients at once, which is great when you have many clients and limited time. Plus, other members might offer different solutions based on their experiences and perspectives, enriching the whole group.

Group coaching can also boost accountability through positive peer pressure. Members can support each other in overcoming obstacles and reaching their goals.

However, there are some challenges with group coaching. You'll have less one-on-one time with each client, and it may take a few sessions to fully understand their situations.

You'll also need strong emotional intelligence to handle different personalities and perspectives within the group (keep reading below to learn about the skills you need as a coach).

As the coach and facilitator, your role is to moderate discussions, encourage participation, and create a safe space for sharing. It's important to pick clients who will contribute positively to the coaching community and help each member achieve their goals.

In the end, group coaching is easier to scale, meaning you can grow your online business faster and help more people in less time. But it requires skillful navigation to ensure that everyone benefits from the collective experience and support.

If you prefer to focus on group coaching sessions, check out this article from our blog: How to Successfully Run Group Coaching Programs in Your Online Business

Coaching Masterminds

A mastermind is a special group that coaches use to help their clients achieve their goals. It's like a coaching program with a twist – it's more exclusive and only for selected members.

Masterminds usually come with a higher price tag and last longer than regular coaching online programs. They are like private clubs where everyone shares their expertise and helps each other, guided by the coach.

Learn more about masterminds: What is a Mastermind? How to Create a Mastermind Group for Your Online Coaching Business

lesson imagePhoto by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

To join a mastermind, clients need to meet certain qualifications set by the coach. This ensures that all members have a similar level of knowledge in their field and can support each other with unique advice, along with the coach's guidance.

Creating a mastermind requires an online platform that lets you build a community and offer exclusive content to your members.

A great choice for building a private mastermind community is Heights Platform, which allows you to schedule meetings, calls, create private paid community channels and provide continuous support to your members in the form of an exclusive membership site.

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Hybrid Coaching (With Self-Paced Online Courses)

Many coaches often do not limit themselves to providing coaching sessions (one-to-one, or group). They also offer other products to complement their offerings and reach a broader audience.

Such products can be online courses or other digital products.

Online courses are learning programs where students go through the content and materials at their own pace, without the guidance of a coach in real-time. The course creator puts together a collection of pre-recorded lessons that take students from points A to B and help them achieve a specific result.

It's like coaching, but without the one-on-one guidance.

Learn more about online courses:

This means you can make money without trading your time for it. You create a course once, and many people can benefit from it without you needing to be there each time!

Online courses are a fantastic way to attract new clients and introduce them to your coaching services. Depending on your course's value, you can set different prices for it. However, courses are generally more affordable compared to individual coaching, making them a great way to attract new customers, who may one day become your coaching clients!

Related article: The Benefits of Selling Online Courses vs Other Ways to Make Money Online

To make an online course, you need a special platform to organize the content, charge fees, gather student data, and build a community.

Heights Platform's online course software does all this and more, helping thousands of creators and coaches grow their online businesses.

Heights Platform also has multiple AI tools to help creators and coaches speed up their process and get all the guidance they need to launch a successful online business!

How to Get Started as an Online Coach (Step-By-Step Guide)

Just like any other online business, starting as a coach requires planning and time investment.

You can use these steps to start a successful online coaching business no matter what kind of coach you want to be. The important thing is to plan ahead and have a clear strategy before you begin working on it.

Let's break down the process into a few main steps:

Step 1: Find Your Coaching Niche

One of the keys to success as a coach is to find your niche and effectively communicate with your ideal customers and target audience.

A niche is a specific segment of the market that targets a relatively small group of people. Your niche choice determines the type of content you create and the clients you target.

Consider your specific knowledge or experiences when deciding on your niche. Niching down further allows you to target your ideal customer directly and increases the likelihood of attracting them.

For example, let's say that you want to become a business coach. The "business" niche is huge! As a new coach with little experience, getting your first clients in such a competitive industry can be very hard.

But if you word your offer differently and you narrow it down, you get a higher chance to be noticed by your ideal clients.

For example, instead of "business coach," you can position yourself as a "Business coach that helps single moms start their own affiliate marketing business."

In this example, you are targeting a more narrow audience, and those people are more likely to choose you as your coach since you are addressing them directly in your marketing copy.

Step 2: Work on Your Coaching Skills

If you want to succeed as a coach, you need to know how to be one.

Coaching skills are what enable coaches to connect with clients, understand their needs, and assist them in reaching their goals.

Developing these skills can make a significant difference in the success of an online coaching business. So what skills do you need to have as an online coach? Let's see them below:

Knowledge about your niche of focus: Before we get into the more empathetic skills of coaching, you need to have real-world knowledge about your industry. It helps to have experienced what your clients are going through for yourself, so you can help them better and convey trust.

Active listening: This means being attentive and fully present when clients express their thoughts and feelings. Listening skills help you understand your clients better and build a strong rapport with them.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of clients. Empathy helps coaches be compassionate and supportive, creating a safe and trusting environment for clients to open up.

lesson imagePhoto by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Problem-solving: You need to be able to assist your clients in identifying obstacles and finding practical solutions to overcome them.

Communication skills: Being able to convey ideas clearly and effectively is extra important in a coach's job, both verbally and non-verbally. Good communication enhances the coaching relationship.

Time management: Another important skill that your client will appreciate is time management. This helps clients prioritize and manage their time effectively to work towards their objectives.

Accountability: One of the main jobs of a coach is holding clients accountable for their actions and commitments, helping them stay on track.

By honing these essential coaching skills, you can create a positive and transformational experience for your clients, making your coaching business more successful and fulfilling.

In this article from our blog, we cover more of the main skills needed from a coach: 8 Skills You Need to Succeed as an Online Coach

Step 3: Define Your Coaching Business Model

Once you've identified your target audience and you are confident in your coaching skills, it's time to define your business model.

What services will you provide? Will you offer multiple offerings?

Earlier in the article, we already covered some of the most popular business models for a coaching business: one-on-one coaching, group coaching sessions, masterminds or mixing your own coaching business with self-paced online courses and digital products.

In the latter, coaches go beyond online coaching sessions and offer various digital products at different price points to attract new customers.

A good idea when it comes to planning your business model is to come up with a value ladder for your business.

We explain all about this here: The Value Ladder (How to Improve Online Course Sales by Segmenting Your Audience and Product Offering)

Your value ladder may include free or low-priced digital products such as lead magnets, online courses, coaching sessions, and premium offerings like masterminds for your ideal customers.

Step 4: Set The Price for Your Coaching Services

There are no set rules for pricing online coaching services, and it highly depends on your business model.

For 1-on-1 coaching, prices can vary, but they generally range from over $100 to up to $1000 per session. Group coaching tends to be cheaper than 1-on-1 coaching, and mastermind groups have varying pricing based on factors like the number of members and the value of meetings.

You can also choose between different pricing structures that fit well with your and your client's needs.

Many coaches set hourly prices for their coaching sessions. This pricing structure is suitable for topics that can be covered in a few sessions and where coaching is not the primary focus.

Another pricing idea is a subscription or retainer model, ideal for ongoing training or when clients have longer-term goals.

You can also offer program packages, where clients pay for a specific set of coaching sessions focused on achieving desired outcomes and transformations.

In this article, we go deep into these coaching pricing strategies: How to Price Your Online Coaching Programs

Step 5: Create Your Coaching Website and Choose a Coaching Platform

A website is crucial for your online coaching business as it serves as your virtual storefront.

You need a professional website and sales landing pages and a platform to sell your coaching offerings.

Heights Platform provides all the necessary tools for creating a professional eLearning business, whether you're selling digital products, online courses, memberships, or coaching sessions.

With Heights Platform, you have full flexibility in determining your online coaching business's business model, pricing, and structure.

Heights Platform Web Page Builder image

You can also build your entire coaching website with our Web Page Builder feature.

With the Web Page Builder, you can create a whole website for your business with unlimited pages and without the need for coding skills or having to subscribe to an additional web design tool. It's all available within Heights Platform.

Plus, you can build a community for your coaching clients, sell access to coaching sessions and sell digital products inside your program!

Start Your Coaching Business Today

Step 6: Create Content and Build Trust

Once your product offerings are ready and your website is set, it's time to promote your online business and build trust with your audience.

Selling coaching sessions is different from selling inexpensive items online.

You need to cultivate relationships with potential customers and earn their trust before they invest in your coaching products.

lesson imagePhoto by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Start by creating valuable free content such as blog posts, YouTube videos, podcasts, etc.

The more quality content you produce, the easier it becomes to establish trust and position yourself as an expert in your field.

Remember, this is a gradual process that takes time, but combined with other marketing strategies, it will help you organically grow your business.

Related article: 5 Actionable Tips on How to Boost Productivity For Content Creators

Step 7: Promote Your Online Coaching Business

Besides creating free content, you can leverage various marketing strategies to promote your online coaching business.

It's advisable to build an audience before launching your business.

From the moment you decide to start an online coaching business, spread the word and gather a small audience of potential customers.

This way, when you launch your business, you'll already have interested individuals, potentially leading to initial clients.

Learn more about promoting your successful coaching business: How to Build A Personal Brand to Promote Your Online Course Business

Step 8: Get Your First Clients

By following the steps above, you'll be in a great position to start acquiring your first clients.

However, as a new online coach, it can be challenging to onboard customers without an audience or social proof.

Learn more about getting your first coaching clients: 6 Actionable Tips to Attract Your First Coaching Clients

Consider reaching out to potential clients and offering your services for free or at a discounted rate initially. This allows you to test your coaching skills, secure your first clients, and gather social proof.

You could also offer your services for free to your audience in exchange for honest video reviews that you can showcase on your website.

Social proof plays a vital role in the online coaching world. Once you have a few clients and positive reviews, you can rely on word of mouth to expand your reach and attract more customers ready to invest in your services.

Tips to Build a Thriving Online Coaching Business

Now that you know all about the different online coaching business models, and how to start an online coaching business step by step, let's see a few tips that can help you get a head start in your business journey.

Experience What You Teach in The Real World

Before you embark on your coaching business journey, it is a good idea to get the experience you need to be able to coach others.

For example, if you want to become a business coach, it will help if you have past experiences with building your own business and making it a success.

Not only will this help you to assist your clients better, it will also enhance your credibility as an expert in the eyes of potential clients.

Learn more about this: How to Become an Expert in Your Online Course Topic

Start By Coaching Friends or Family

When you are first getting started, it can be hard to gain your first clients and get momentum without any past testimonials or experience.

It can make things easier to start coaching your friends and family members to get more experience and collect a few testimonials to showcase on your site.

If you do not have any friends or family members in need of your coaching services, consider reaching out to communities or people on the internet and asking them to coach them for free, or at a lower rate in exchange for reviews.

Collect and Showcase Testimonials from Past Clients

Once you get your first clients, do not forget to ask them for a review to post on your website and on your social media pages.

Video testimonials are a great way to collect social proof and reassure new potential clients of your capabilities.

Become a Recognized Expert in Your Niche

You need to gain the trust of new potential clients before you can land a new coaching job. And what better way to do this than to become a recognized expert in your niche?

Consider attending events in your space, speaking at conferences, delivering free presentations, joining podcasts or writing guest articles for publications. All of these efforts will help you to become "famous" and have people recognize you as an expert in your industry.

This way, when they are in need of a coach, your name will be the first to come up in their mind.

Offer Value for Free

Deliver free value through various means such as creating informative blog posts, offering free webinars or workshops, providing valuable content on social media, and sharing helpful resources via email newsletters.

By consistently offering valuable insights and advice without expecting anything in return, you'll build trust, establish yourself as an authority in your field, and attract a loyal audience who may eventually become paying clients.

Remember, providing genuine value upfront can be the key to long-term success as an online coach.

Related article: Why Creating Free Content Won't Hurt Your Online Course Sales [Plus How to Do it]

Start Your Online Coaching Business With Heights Platform

Heights Platform is the perfect choice for creators and coaches looking to build a thriving online knowledge business.

With a wide range of features and tools, Heights Platform allows online coaches to offer personalized one-on-one or group virtual coaching sessions, masterminds, and even create and sell self-paced online courses and sell digital products on the side.

The platform's flexibility and ease of use enable online coaches to reach clients worldwide, and structure their business as they want.

Additionally, Heights Platform includes Heights AI and offers comprehensive AI tools to speed up the coaching process and provide guidance for a successful business launch.

With Hights Platform's support, creator and coaches can focus on doing what they love most, creating valuable content, and building trust with their audience, ultimately leading to a fulfilling and successful online coaching business journey.

Start Your Coaching Business Today